Thursday, 7 May 2009

Adlestrop - Edward Thomas

Yes, I remember Adlestrop –
The name because one afternoon
Of heat the express train drew up there
Unwontendly. It was late June.
The steam hissed. Someone cleared his throat.
No one left and no one came
On the bare platform. What I saw
Was Adlestrop – only the name
And willows, willow-herb, and grass,
And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry,
No whit less still and lonely fair
Than the high cloudlets in the sky.
And for that minute a blackbird sang
Close by, and round him, mistier,
Farther and farther, all the birds
Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.
On 23 June 1914 Edward Thomas took his uneventful journey on the Oxford to Worcester express. In July 1915 he enlisted into the Artists Rifles. (Two of my great uncles did the same - one survived the war). At 7.30am on Easter Monday, 9th April 1917, the first day of the battle of Arras, Thomas was standing at the Beaurains Observation Post when he was killed by the blast of a shell exploding nearby.